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Thread: What have you bought lately?

  1. #51
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Land of the crazy
    Calling Pittsburgh hilly is an understatement.

  2. #52
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: Mossad Time Machine
    The last two posts you could almost have been talking about Sheffield in England, where my brother lives. Another hilly city, famed for its industry, particularly steel, in oddly rural surroundings.

  3. #53
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    I'd say that video reminded me of driving around upstate New York, but it's basically the same region; it hardly makes sense to suggest they're even really different places.

    I may be moving back to the US soon. US geography is weird. It's northeast Oklahoma. To me, with my family connected to south Oklahoma, in my mind it's a state with famously flat countryside. All those states in the middle are part of tornado alley where big storms just roll through flat plains, the kind that carry people's houses off to Oz. But by the time you get to NE Oklahoma you're already starting to get into the foothills of the Appalachians, more or less the same foothills you're seeing in that video. So it looks probably not so surprisingly similar, but still to my surprise when I first traveled around there.

    I started noticing this also when driving around in American Truck Simulator, which everyone always says is pretty dead on in terms of the look of a place. People think of Navada as dry, deserty, and rocky, but by the time you get near the north border suddenly you're in rolling hills, and mountains if you went west.

    This is all part of my greater awareness as I get older that basically everything we think we know is more complicated and unfamiliar when you get down to the details. In Texas they had this hate-fueled movement to "ban Sharia law" in the state. (The argument was over religious-based marriage councilors wanting to get exactly the same kind of certification status that Christian marriage councilors get, which IMO they absolutely should get, of course.) But the critics were evidently completely oblivious to the fact that Texas culture is drenched in Andalusian culture everywhere you look -- the architecture, the language, guitars and horses, come on -- including embedded within their own norms and culture in other terms, and it looks like a people completely blind to their own history and their own soul raging against themselves.

    Well, let's see how well I fit in going back there with a perspective like that... =L

  4. #54
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2003
    Location: The Plateaux Of Mirror
    Upstate New York reminds me a bit more of Northeastern PA, a little more Appalachian than the Alleghenys. I have an uncle who lives near...Canton? Trenton? Somewhere up by the border, and I always loved going up there because there was absolutely nothing anywhere.

  5. #55
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    This is reminding me of GeoGuesser, that game where it drops you in the middle of someplace in Google maps street view and you have to guess where you are by putting a pin in the world map then you're scored by how many km you are away from the actual place. It's sometimes surprising how little clues can localize you to very specific places.

    But if you were dropped around this region, you'd no doubt get the pin a lot closer to the actual place than I would. Allegheny country doesn't really have a place in my imagination yet. It'll be forever before ATS gets up there too.

  6. #56
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2001
    Location: under God's grace
    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Moyer View Post
    I really want to visit Finland at some point, but I'm getting to that age where it may not happen. It seems like an amazing place to live.
    It totally is. We've got our very own bear next door that likes to (try to) devour smaller countries. He's an embarrassed little bear, yes he is!

    Finland is pretty nice. We've got high taxes, but in return we get services like healthcare. If you're entrepreneurial, Finland has its ways to tone that down a little bit, but not enough to snuff it out completely. Our architecture veers towards Soviet-style cubes of concrete, and in some suburbs there are entire walls of these. To balance this out, we've got absolutely breathtakingly beautiful old villages full of old wooden houses, some of them Swedish-style. In 2017 I biked from Helsinki to Turku (193km if you take the route I did) and I saw things you people wouldn't believe. We also have our own archipelago, which truly is one of a kind. Nowhere else in the world will you see such a beautiful cluster of thousands of (vastly) different sized islands, some of them populated. We are also the land of thousands of lakes. We are constantly told we're the happiest nation in the world, but we are very skeptical of this ourselves. The funniest man in the world comes from our beloved Finland. He's a chill fellow.

    Anyways, we'd be happy to have you over! We'll offer you some delicious salmiakki and mämmi. I hope our quietness and awkwardness won't traumatize you for life.

  7. #57
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2003
    Location: The Plateaux Of Mirror
    I just want to watch some Pesäpallo.

  8. #58
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2001
    Location: under God's grace
    We got you covered. Sotkamon Jymy will knock your socks off. And incase your feet get cold due to that, we'll give you Villasukat and talk rally-English at you.

  9. #59
    Quote Originally Posted by demagogue View Post
    I'd say that video reminded me of driving around upstate New York, but it's basically the same region; it hardly makes sense to suggest they're even really different places.

    I may be moving back to the US soon. US geography is weird. It's northeast Oklahoma. To me, with my family connected to south Oklahoma, in my mind it's a state with famously flat countryside. All those states in the middle are part of tornado alley where big storms just roll through flat plains, the kind that carry people's houses off to Oz. But by the time you get to NE Oklahoma you're already starting to get into the foothills of the Appalachians, more or less the same foothills you're seeing in that video. So it looks probably not so surprisingly similar, but still to my surprise when I first traveled around there.

    I started noticing this also when driving around in American Truck Simulator, which everyone always says is pretty dead on in terms of the look of a place. People think of Navada as dry, deserty, and rocky, but by the time you get near the north border suddenly you're in rolling hills, and mountains if you went west.
    When I did my TTLG Trail roadtrip (Woo, that takes me back!), the changing landscapes was some of the most interesting aspect of the long drive. I did West to East, and seeing the Rockies give way to the desert, the desert in turn to canyons and hills and plains and woods... It was a wonderful experience and I don't discard doing it again some day.

  10. #60
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Land of the crazy
    Quote Originally Posted by demagogue View Post
    I'd say that video reminded me of driving around upstate New York, but it's basically the same region; it hardly makes sense to suggest they're even really different places.
    What part of NY do you refer to? New York state has a surprising diversity of places given its size, as I rediscovered on a road trip this summer. There's regions of glacially formed hills, lakes and plains, two distinct mountain ranges, part of the Allegheny plateau, three major river valleys, Long island, Niagara falls.

    The flip side of having a lot of geographic and demographic diversity over a small area is that it's easy to find similarities between places on totally different continents. I've traveled to a few parts of Europe for work and always noticed similarities to familiar places. I suppose that wherever climate and geological features are similar, the look and feel of the place will be somewhat familiar, because you'll see much of the same flora and fauna, enjoy similar weather, find similar patterns of settlement dictated by the available natural resources. The big difference I saw is in the age of things.

    I may be moving back to the US soon. US geography is weird. It's northeast Oklahoma. To me, with my family connected to south Oklahoma, in my mind it's a state with famously flat countryside. All those states in the middle are part of tornado alley where big storms just roll through flat plains, the kind that carry people's houses off to Oz. But by the time you get to NE Oklahoma you're already starting to get into the foothills of the Appalachians, more or less the same foothills you're seeing in that video. So it looks probably not so surprisingly similar, but still to my surprise when I first traveled around there.

    I started noticing this also when driving around in American Truck Simulator, which everyone always says is pretty dead on in terms of the look of a place. People think of Navada as dry, deserty, and rocky, but by the time you get near the north border suddenly you're in rolling hills, and mountains if you went west.

    This is all part of my greater awareness as I get older that basically everything we think we know is more complicated and unfamiliar when you get down to the details. In Texas they had this hate-fueled movement to "ban Sharia law" in the state. (The argument was over religious-based marriage councilors wanting to get exactly the same kind of certification status that Christian marriage councilors get, which IMO they absolutely should get, of course.) But the critics were evidently completely oblivious to the fact that Texas culture is drenched in Andalusian culture everywhere you look -- the architecture, the language, guitars and horses, come on -- including embedded within their own norms and culture in other terms, and it looks like a people completely blind to their own history and their own soul raging against themselves.

    Well, let's see how well I fit in going back there with a perspective like that... =L
    I spent a month at Tinker AFB in OK City back when I was 20 and it's one of the last places in the US I'd want to return to. I hear Tulsa is better. But for some reason, NE Oklahoma just doesn't seem like your kind of place. Do you have family there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Moyer View Post
    Upstate New York reminds me a bit more of Northeastern PA, a little more Appalachian than the Alleghenys. I have an uncle who lives near...Canton? Trenton? Somewhere up by the border, and I always loved going up there because there was absolutely nothing anywhere.
    Canton is WAY upstate, on the St. Lawrence plain and only about a half hour from the Adirondacks. I almost went to school in the nearby town of Potsdam. I'm not sure where Trenton is.

  11. #61
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Quote Originally Posted by heywood View Post
    What part of NY do you refer to? New York state has a surprising diversity of places given its size, as I rediscovered on a road trip this summer.
    I don't know, getting into the Catskills I guess. When one lives in NYC, everything past the Hudson feels indistinguishably "upstate". XD

    But for some reason, NE Oklahoma just doesn't seem like your kind of place. Do you have family there?
    Obviously I have family there. My day job is as a human rights lawyer though, and there's an ethos that wherever you are, there are people you can serve. I worked on indigenous rights in southeast Asia, so it's a chance to work on indigenous rights in the US as well.

    I mean, I have this idea that everywhere in the world is the center of the world for something, and I think for indigenous rights, every indigenous group in the world is paying attention to what's happening in Oklahoma. To wit, the Supreme Court is muffing up that field of law out of blind prejudice it's not even trying to hide, along with everything else while it's at it; and some of the major cases are set there. If you want to look into the question of indigenous sovereignty, that's the place to look.

    I'm also working on a screenplay on the Buffalo Soldiers & Apache that I'd like to chat with people there about. It seems somehow suddenly really important there's some national discussion about this part of our history. It kind of combines the US's three original sins all in one story (botching the end of slavery, breaking treaty obligations to the native populations, and swiping the whole southwest from Mexico under the pretext of protecting them from said native populations, then not actually really protecting them). But you know it still has some pretty cool action and drama, and two of the most fascinating soldiers in our history going at it against each other, Henry Flipper & Lozen.

  12. #62
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Land of the crazy
    I guess you're referring to the decision where Brett Kavanaugh wrote that "the state has jurisdiction over all of its territory, including Indian country" or something likewise. How ironic is it to see the same justices who complain about judicial activism just make up law on the fly like that?

    It will be quite a culture shock after living in Japan for years. Make sure you have a tornado shelter.

  13. #63
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2003
    Location: The Plateaux Of Mirror
    Quote Originally Posted by heywood View Post
    Canton is WAY upstate, on the St. Lawrence plain and only about a half hour from the Adirondacks. I almost went to school in the nearby town of Potsdam. I'm not sure where Trenton is.
    Canton is where I was thinking of. Trenton is...southern New Jersey I think? Anyway, I'm just bad with names. My uncle still has a small farm in Canton, I think. You're right though, it's pretty flat around there, with a fair bit of marsh/swamp kind of land if you go off the beaten trail. One of my cousins did a lot of fur trapping around there, it's an interesting area for wildlife.

    The area from Pittsburgh to Erie to Buffalo to Rochester NY has a pretty similar vibe all the way up, other than the lake effect snow being much stronger outside of here. We still get a little, but not like those 3 cities.

  14. #64
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Sporty car, looks fun to drive, but every time I think about a stick I recall being on the upslope of four corners hill in Oxford at the light and having to keep the rev right while on the clutch and brake with my left then not stalling or rolling back when the light turns green. Hills and curves are dandy but there are tricky spots. Not much worse than being on a motorcycle I guess but at least you have another appendage to clutch with.

    You ever go to Evans city cemetery and stagger around calling for Barbara?

  15. #65
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Quote Originally Posted by heywood View Post
    I guess you're referring to the decision where Brett Kavanaugh wrote that "the state has jurisdiction over all of its territory, including Indian country" or something likewise. How ironic is it to see the same justices who complain about judicial activism just make up law on the fly like that?
    There's that. Another case just got cert this week (the Sup. Ct. voted to hear it) on the Indian Child Welfare Act, which makes it harder to adopt or move native children outside of their tribe. There's widespread expectation that they may overturn the law, which makes it that much easier for the government to disempower tribes by sucking away their membership.

    It will be quite a culture shock after living in Japan for years. Make sure you have a tornado shelter.
    I should be going back and forth also to Fort Worth my hometown. I'm still technically "working in Japan" (remotely), because this is the crazy world we live in now, and may be coming back soon enough, so there's that.

  16. #66
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2003
    Location: The Plateaux Of Mirror
    Quote Originally Posted by Tocky View Post
    Sporty car, looks fun to drive, but every time I think about a stick I recall being on the upslope of four corners hill in Oxford at the light and having to keep the rev right while on the clutch and brake with my left then not stalling or rolling back when the light turns green. Hills and curves are dandy but there are tricky spots. Not much worse than being on a motorcycle I guess but at least you have another appendage to clutch with.
    I think most sticks have a hill hold feature now, where you press the clutch in while holding the brake, and when you let go of the brake it will hold the car for a moment until you apply throttle. I don't particularly care for it, but it does give a little bit more confidence on super steep hills of which there are tons here.

    You ever go to Evans city cemetery and stagger around calling for Barbara?
    Of course. I also randomly met Romero when he was selling movie props at Century III mall around 25 years ago. He was a nice guy.

  17. #67
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Oh man, you are stabbing me in the heart with a trowel. Selling movie props? Like what? Nothing from NOTLD surely? Did you get an autograph? I would have so many questions for him.

    Also thanks for the drive home. That was mesmerizing. I've driven so much of my life away and yet it's still fascinating to go somewhere new. It was like being in the passenger seat while a friend prattled on. Exactly like that. And I have to throw my hat in also about it being like where I live once you get off the main roads. It's hilly here and with the same patchwork of houses, just farther apart. My drive home would be mostly straight with hills and less exciting for a car like yours unless I took the old road and then pretty much the same.

    I wish everyone here would film a short on the place they live. Maybe one day I'll film a drive around Oxford, Ms. where I work. It's a pretty little college town that I used to love more when it was bohemian. Then they tore down every place I liked and built Fancy new things to imitate what they tore down. Big money moved in. Unfortunately it remembered a place it liked so much it wanted to move back and change it.

    And where at in Ok. Dema? More Tulsa or Fort Smith? I've been a little into Choctaw territory there but not far. I urge you to go on drives to Arkansas from there because the mountains there abouts are lovely. Go drive Skyline to Queen Wilhelmina lodge, or down from Fort Smith to Mt. Magazine and on to the falls at Petit Jean and her gravesite above the river there. I have no Idea why Hollywood never made a movie of her story. Go see Mt. Nebo and rent a cabin for the night. Drink in the history there. There is a reason True Grit was written about such country. The trail of tears went through there. Do it to get a feel for the route they travelled. Climb Pinnacle Mt. and look out over the river they took. The whole area has some of my favorite places. And post a video or just pictures. I'll share some of mine if you want.

  18. #68
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Land of the crazy
    Forgive me for posting again about kayaks, but I felt compelled to share a little moment of serendipity.

    I just crossed the mid-century mark last month and wanted a second packable kayak for my birthday. My son is really getting interested in being on the water and with two tandem kayaks, the four of us can go camping. This time, I wanted a more serious boat for multi-day trips. Many hours of research led me to the Nortik Scubi 2 XL.

    It ticked every box. My only mild reservation was the high rocker (upward curve in the keel at the bow and stern). I was seconds from purchasing it from a Dutch retailer when I stopped for a moment and wondered where they were made. I've been trying to reduce buying from China these days. It turns out the boats are made by Triton in St. Petersburg, and Nortik is just a brand name of the German company who markets them in the EU.

    Argh, I thought. I don't want to buy a Russian boat!

    It left me feeling bummed out for a couple days, but then I started digging through search results looking for alternatives. Neris was a name I didn't recognize that came up in a couple of forum posts. When I Googled them I found a kayak similar to but even better than the Nortik I was going to buy, the Neris Smart Pro.

    Then I saw where they are made: Ukraine

    Now I'm the proud owner of one of these, in red. It all fits into one large backpack. Sometimes things just work out.

  19. #69
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by heywood View Post
    It all fits into one large backpack.
    One 26.4 kg / 58 lbs backpack! ...Gonna be a little rough to hike far with that and a full camping kit...

  20. #70
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    Quote Originally Posted by heywood View Post
    Then I saw where they are made: Ukraine
    Huzzah! I must admit this made me smile. What are you going to name her? I've always liked the name Thissideup.

  21. #71
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Land of the crazy
    That made me smile too Tocky, so I couldn't keep it to myself. I'll leave it to my kids to decide what to call it. I don't recall ever naming stuff, though I'm sure I did as a kid.

    The weight is not bad, about the same as a fiberglass canoe of the same size, and the weight is a heck of a lot easier to carry. High end inflatables of similar size & fitout are close to the same weight, and traditional skin on frame and rotomolded kayaks are heavier. We have one of these for schlepping from the car to the launch, but portages are going to be an effort.

    When we camp, we bring fresh food and a charcoal grill. I've smoked ribs and roasts, made pizza, steaks, pasta, curries, even cioppino. And we bring wine and schnapps. A benefit of paddling to camp vs. backpacking to camp is that you can eat real food, bring a bigger tent, enjoy some comforts. Otherwise, my wife wouldn't come.

  22. #72
    New chair arrived today


  23. #73
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Land of the crazy
    Secretlab Titan. Nice gaming chair that doesn't look too much like a gaming chair.

  24. #74
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2002
    Location: In the flesh.
    The hemorrhoid holder is a nice touch. Also looks like you could crank that baby back when you have had one too many and nap.

  25. #75
    Quote Originally Posted by Tocky View Post
    hemorrhoid holder
    I lol'ed Seriously though it's a memory foam cushion and that's probably my best purchase since I started WFH. My previous chair had a pretty hard seat and when you spend 8+ hours/ day, it makes a difference.

    It does actually recline a great deal, enough for a nap but I have another, better recliner for that, an old Stressless armchair (similar to this) I rescued when my parents upgraded their living room. It's more than 20+ years old but still supremely comfortable.

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